November 20, 2013   by
How to manage a Dysfunctional Chama

How to manage a Dysfunctional Chama

No group of people is perfect. People have flaws and failings. In most cases a Chama succeeds. In some cases a Chama’s failings are so great that nothing gets done. When a Chama is like this, it is dysfunctional and needs to be fixed. There are many different types of dysfunctional Chamas:

Individualists – On a Chama of individualists everyone is out for themselves.
Conflict-avoiding Chama – Everyone just goes along to get along.
Indecisive Chama – All discussions are circular and nothing gets accomplished.

The underlying problems with most dysfunctional Chamas are a lack of trust, the lack of engaging in productive conflict or lack of purpose. You will need to diagnose what is the problem with your Chama to be able to correct it.


A lack of trust is a common problem afflicting many Chamas. Chama members on individualist Chamas do not trust one another. They do not share credit. They are afraid that they will suffer a loss of power or respect if they share credit. Members of individualist Chamas will only go all out for their own benefit. Chama members that do not trust each other will not have healthy disagreements and debates. This lack of trust makes them lose out on the chance to create a stronger bond. Look for ways to build trust on your Chama. Find ways to create opportunities for your Chama members to get to know each other on a personal level. Have your Chama members get to know each other on a casual level. You could have your Chama members reveal a little bit about themselves. These small disclosures can go a long way to help your Chama members understand each other and to become more accepting of them.

Here are ways to turnaround a dysfunctional Chama

Set the vision for the group and establish milestones to achieving the vision. You are the group leader. That means, it is part of your job description to set the goal for the group. Just paint a picture of what you want to accomplish in future. You don’t want your Chama saying, “What are we doing? Where is this leading us?”

Start and end meetings on time. Also, it is unacceptable for team members to be late for meetings. This cannot be enforced differently across the group. Even if it’s the secretary or treasurer
who is late, she should be held accountable just as if it was anyone else. If we’re a team, we all need to follow the same rules.

Schedule regular face time with each of your Chama members at least monthly. The best Chama leaders who have the best teams know the importance of ‘checking in’ and keeping a finger on the pulse with every Chama member. When it doesn’t happen, you can see the Chama start to gradually drift apart.

Hold people accountable. If someone’s doing their part, you’ve got to call them on that. Other Chama members who are doing their bit will resent you more than they resent the lazy member if you don’t. As the Chama leader, you’ve got to take responsibility for when things go well and when they don’t for the Chama.


Categorised in: , ,

This post was written by

Please Subscribe and get Notified when new articles are posted